When brewers brew beer, they only use one part of the hops plant, the flowers. The plant’s leaves, or “bracts,” usually get tossed. But maybe we should hold onto them.
Recently, scientists reported that the part of hops that isn’t used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease. In a new study in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that they’ve identified some of the substances that could be responsible for these healthful effects.
Those antioxidant and -microbial compounds they found in hops bracts went after bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.
The Popular Science blog Under the Microscope notes that this study is the latest in a long line of dental research on hops:
For centuries, dentists have been trying to find natural means to prevent gum disease, which is an inflammatory process sparked by bacteria. When the antimicrobial activity of hops were found, dentists decided that it was at least worth a try. What they have found reveals that not only are they good for the mouth, they can potentially help to prevent problems in the future.